• Message From the President, David A. Spain, MD

    President’s Perspective

    Well, we successfully pulled off the 79th Annual Meeting of AAST and Clinical Congress of Acute Care Surgery on a virtual platform. First, we owe a huge debt to the AAST team - Sharon Gautschy, Jermica Smith, Brea Sanders, Bridget Lindbloom, Miguel Guiterrez, Afia Jones and especially Rachel Sass - for organizing this and keeping us on track. The amount of work they put in before the meeting and for 10 days during the meeting was amazing. We are lucky to have such a capable and dedicated team helping us. We also need to thank Program Chair Pat Reilly and the entire Program Committee for putting together an amazing program. 

    For me personally, some of the highlights were:

    • A scientific presentation from the day 1 plenary session
    • Communications Committee’s “Trends, Updates, and Controversies in Acute Care Surgery” with a great panel and energetic discussions
    • Presentations by our 3 scholarship recipients Galinos Barmparas, Ian Brown and Jennifer Leonard were incredible and confirmed we made great choices in supporting them
    • Lunch Session from the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee: on “Achieving and Maintaining a Diverse Workforce: Lofty Goals and Strategic Plans are Not Enough!” and then followed the next day their official report have outlined for us the work we need to do to continue to grow and improve our organization
    • Discussion led by Dr. Jurkovich on “Acute Care Surgery and ABS Certification: Opportunities and Challenges” including Clay Burlew and Jo Buyske from the ABS
    • And as always, the Quickshot sessions were incredible

    Fortunately, all this content has been archived and is available to those who registered. Since this is our first venture into this and it seems likely we all always have a virtual component going forward, your feedback on what you liked and what worked, as well as areas for improvement, will be extremely useful for us.

    The Associate Member Council continues its growth and maturation. In August they picked their inaugural class of leadership.

    • Chair: Lisa Knowlton, MD, MPH, assistant professor from Stanford
    • Vice-Chair: Ryan Dumas, MD, assistant professor from UT Southwestern
    • Treasurer: Matt Strickland, MD, assistant professor from University of Alberta
    • Secretary: Linda Dultz, MD, assistant professor from UT Southwestern
    • Communication/Social Media Councilor: Brittany Bankhead-Kendall, MD, MS, assistant professor at Texas Tech
    • Scholarship/Development Councilor: W. Jason Butler, MD, general surgeon at Camp Pendelton
    • Research/Education Councilor: Jonathan Meizoso, MD, MSPH, acute care surgery fellow at University of Colorado/Denver Health

    The group has already outlined a vision for the council and has developed a detailed action plan for 2021. Twelve associate members had podium presentation at the annual meeting and associate members Nicole Goulet (NYU) and Joe Forrester (Stanford) moderated a great lunch session for the associate members on “How to be Productive and Build Your Academic Career” with great advice and pearls from Linda Dultz, Tim Pritts and Clay Burlew.

    One of the main benefits of our annual meeting is the networking and introductions of our fellows looking for their first jobs to friends and colleagues. While we will never be able to fully replace that, the AAST along with the EAST, SCCPDS and COT will be hosting a virtual job fair later this year. Thanks to Deb Stein, Clay Burlew, Eileen Bulger and Kim Davis for the idea and coordinating this along with the AAST staff. Details will be coming soon.

    It has been an incredible honor to serve as the AAST President this past year and I’m deeply appreciative for the opportunity to serve another year. I hope that by next fall, we will be able to meet in person in Atlanta - but who knows what the future holds. In the meantime, please stay safe and take care of yourselves and your families, as well as your patients.

    Finally, to quote the Grateful Dead “what a long strange trip it’s been” in 2020 - a global pandemic, widespread unrest over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, #MedBikini and loss of the Notorious RBG. 

    All I can say people is vote November 3rd.


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